Since there's nothing like a burgeoning feud between two of the most powerful men in television to enliven a seemingly endless string of TCA-generated reports about the coming Fall season, we're delighted to note that ABC president Steve McPherson has come out swinging about newly appointed NBC co-chairman/chime-bearer/rock-star Ben Silverman, whom McPherson apparently felt was a little less than honest in discussing his high-profile adoption of Grey's Anatomy orphan Isaiah Washington and in the way he pleaded ignorance of the bloody execucide of predecessor Kevin Reilly that cleared the path for Silverman to take control of the Peacock. TVGuide.com relates McPherson's comments about the Isaiah situation:
Silverman told reporters at his July 16 session with the Television Critics Association that he had begun talking with Washington "before he became available" and said he was shocked when ABC decided to let him go. "When he told me he was available I was like, 'You are? Wait, I don't understand. What do you mean? You're a huge star on a star television show.'" he said. "I don't quite understand what had gone on there."
McPherson told reporters Thursday after his TCA session that "if (Silverman) was in fact talking to him before he was available, that's inducement to breach. So I don't know, he's either clueless or stupid."
As to Silverman saying he didn't understand the circumstances surrounding the firing of Washington, McPherson said: "Was he living in a cave?"
While we'd normally take that cue to segue into a discussion of today's Cavemen panel (more on that later), we still have the matter of McPherson's questioning of Silverman's manhood over his handling of Kevin Reilly's firing, as reported by THR:
Talking with reporters after ABC's opening session during the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour, McPherson accused Silverman of being evasive at an NBC press conference last week relating to the dismissal of Reilly on the heels of Silverman joining NBC Universal. Known to be a close friend of Reilly's, McPherson quoted Silverman's comment "I just got here" and challenged him to address the issue. "Be a man," McPherson said of Silverman.
McPherson suggested Silverman owed the success of his former production company, Reveille, to Reilly, who pushed for the Silverman-produced series "The Office" to remain on the air despite initial weak ratings. "He in essence made Reveille," McPherson said of Reilly.
McPherson made it known he thought NBC Uni treated Reilly poorly in terms of his dismissal. "When you see a friend treated the way he was treated, you're going to stand up for him," he said.
Reached on his European vacation via his ubiquitous Blackberry to respond to McPherson's potentially feud-igniting remarks, Silverman was somewhat nonplussed, but typically optimistic that the hubbub would blow over quickly, writing: "Steve? Mad? At me? Over I-Wash and the K-Man? For real? Steve's my dog! We have Ugly Betty together! When I get back to L.A., me and Stevester are gonna sit down at the Chateau and throw back some shots, and by the end of the night, we'll have a groundbreaking three-season deal to cross-promote the shit out of Heroes and Lost. Oh, and Seacrest says hi! LOL! See you back in La-la land, lovers! xoxox Ben."